Michael Porter Jr., Nikola Jokic knock off Warriors in ultimate preseason sport


The first time Nikola Jokic bypassed an open 3-pointer Friday evening, it was curious. A second time raised a couple of extra eyebrows.

When offered with one other open 3-pointer within the second quarter, Jokic lastly launched, regardless of a taped wrist that’s hindered his preseason. Jokic possible gained’t admit how a lot, if in any respect, thats wrist has bothered him, however his play is perhaps indicative. In equity, he did bury one from outdoors within the third quarter.

Jokic wouldn’t have performed in Denver’s ultimate exhibition in opposition to the Warriors – a 119-112 win – if there was any long-term concern about exposing it to reside contact. That doesn’t imply it’s not a nuisance.

Jokic and the Nuggets are going to move into subsequent Wednesday’s season-opener at Utah with the identical issues – well being – that robbed them of their possibilities the final two seasons. No matter the way you spin it, not having the ability to play Jamal Murray the ultimate three video games of the preseason resulting from a hamstring tweak wasn’t perfect, nor was having to navigate Jokic’s wrist damage.

Nonetheless, time is up, and each sport from right here on out issues after Denver gained its ultimate three preseason video games to complete 3-2. Here’s what mattered from Friday’s consequence.

Porter’s well being: Of Denver’s Big 3, Michael Porter Jr. is the one one to have loved zero limitations since coaching camp. His well being and leaping capability doesn’t seem to have diminished after his third again surgical procedure final season.

And in a bizarre twist, Murray’s absence on Friday could have helped harbor the budding chemistry between Jokic and Porter. On a number of events within the first half, Jokic served up seems for Porter, discovering him with area or creating that area himself with a display. Their interaction was intriguing, as was Porter’s willingness to present the ball up. The Nuggets preach, incessantly, to present the ball up and it’ll discover you again. The previous couple of video games, it seems like Porter is shopping for it.

When he dropped the ball off for a streaking Aaron Gordon dunk, it was an ideal encapsulation of the selfless play the Nuggets have preached. On different events, he dropped it off solely to get it again later within the possession.

Defensively, there was even an occasion within the third quarter when he fought over a display whereas defending Andrew Wiggins. Two years in the past, he would’ve conceded that change.

Porter appears to have heeded Michael Malone’s message, which is to say that protection has to warrant the identical consideration as his offense.

After a lackluster second quarter the place the Nuggets yielded 36 factors, they put the clamps on within the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors 42-20.

Second unit: Murray’s absence meant Bruce Brown earned the beginning, thus enhancing the beginning unit’s defensive versatility however robbing the bench unit of a second ball handler.

At occasions, with Bones Hyland initiating, it confirmed. Hyland was the one actual creator amongst Davon Reed, Christian Braun, Jeff Green and DeAndre Jordan. In the primary half, there have been sequences when that lineup acquired slowed down. With Brown out there alongside Hyland, that gained’t occur. It’s one more reason why Ish Smith ought to be utilized greater than a typical third-string level guard. Smith and Hyland established a rhythm within the second half.

Malone seemingly additionally made one other dedication in taking part in Jordan over Zeke Nnaji, regardless of his robust camp. Given Nnaji’s positive factors, it’s powerful to check him being benched completely for Jordan. What’s extra possible is a platoon system, the place every sport caters to their respective strengths.


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